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What to say to someone grieving
Death is hard, but you can ask questions to help heal
When someone we love dies, people like to send food and flowers, but that stuff doesn’t make us feel better. The one thing that helps ease the pain of grief is to talk about the person we loved and our relationship.
However, our society doesn’t teach us how to communicate with each other about death and grief. We are afraid to mention the person who died. We don’t know what to say. So we often say nothing. Then we feel guilty.
I wanted to find out how to talk to someone in grief in a way that opens up the conversation to talk about the person who died.
I asked an expert on grief - Randi Pearlman Wolfson of “Grief and Grits” — and Cheyenne McCollum, the Gold Start sister of fallen Marine Rylee McCollum for their recommendations. I also used the resources from Grief Share, a national network of grief support groups that has a free and established program.
Below, I compiled their ideas and a couple of my own into a list of questions to ask someone in grief to give them space to talk about their loved ones.
I see this as an ongoing project, so if you have other questions to ask someone grieving, put them in the comments below. And if you’re grieving and know what helps you find support in talking about the person who died, please let me know.
What to say to someone grieving:
What do you miss doing together?
What trait do you miss the most?
What memory makes you smile?
What memory makes you cry?
Did you have nicknames for each other?
If you could put your grief into words, how would you explain it?
What helps you on your hard days?
How can I help support you in your grief?
When can I get together with you to talk about your grief?
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